I recently had a mini smile makeover that included one crown and several veneers. I’m disappointed because the crown looks whiter than the veneers because I my tooth stubs are darker. Shouldn’t they match? My dentist is great and I have been going to him for many years, but I’m wondering about the lab he uses. I spent a lot of money to have my smile look perfect and it certainly doesn’t. He showed me several before and after photos during our preliminary consultations, and all of those matched. What do I do now? — Sarah
Your story is all too familiar – especially with a family dentist. Many dentists learn in dental school that cosmetic procedures are easy and that any dentist can do them. Unfortunately there are basic color concepts that are not taught and require extra training – which most don’t have a desire to pursue.
Porcelain is naturally translucent, just like enamel, which makes it an excellent dental material. Veneers are thin and crowns are thicker, so as a result, darker underlying teeth show through the veneers more than the crown.
The dentist has a couple of options to make this look right. Opaquers can be added to the porcelain, but he would definitely need to rely on a skillful lab to make this look right. The veneers need to be opaqued so that they look as translucent as the crown. It’s tricky and required good communication between the dentist and the laboratory which will include photos of the prepared teeth or a detailed description of their color for the lab’s reference.
The dentist could also choose to handle the opacity issue himself during the tooth prep. He can shave a little extra from the dark teeth and apply an opaque layer of composite. The deeper the opaque layer is, the more room is available to create the needed translucent effect with the porcelain. Go back to your dentist and ask about the options, and if he seems unsure of how to make it right, seek out a cosmetic dentist.
This blog post is brought to you by Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phelan Thomas. For more information on the services he provides, please visit his Des Moines cosmetic dentist website.